Locked out of class

By Jamie Potter
Staff Writer

02/26/2015

It was a normal Wednesday and I was rushing to class as I usually do. Having picked one class from 9:00 to 9:50 a.m. and another class 10:00 to 10:50 a.m., I had ten minutes to get from the Henson Science Hall to the yoga class in the University Fitness Center.

In order to save time, I put my Gull card in my jacket pocket then proceeded to put my hands in my pockets for warmth. It wasn’t until I was turning into the U.F.C. parking lot that I realized my card had fallen out. I knew I would have to get a new one at the Gull Card Office or hope someone found it after class, but for now my main priority was getting there.

When I got inside U.F.C. I explained my situation and was told by those working the front desk that it was their policy they could not let me in without a Gull card, regardless of the circumstances. I understood that they were given instructions and did not have the power to break these rules and I respect that they were just doing their job.

But because of this I was directed to the manager. I was told again that because of their policy, they could not let me in without my Gull card no matter what. I asked if it would be possible for me to pull up MyClasses on my phone or an email from the teacher to prove I am in this class. Still, the answer was no.

Rules are put into place to maintain order and these rules generally solve more problems than they create. The Maggs Physical Activity Center and U.F.C. facilities are meant for students, faculty and staff and there is a fear that if they did not enforce this Gull card rule then members of the community would start trying to use the facilities for free.

How could U.F.C. make an exception for me without having to listen to every individual story and make this exception for everyone? For something serious, for example no stealing, the rule has to be more than a guideline. But in a situation like this, common sense should trump such a rule.

A new policy should be put in place to ensure that students can always make it to class. At a university, attending classes and learning should be the number one priority. This should be put above making sure people who aren’t students, faculty or staff use on campus facilities.

Students should be given at least one free pass. Students who lose their Gull card should be allowed one free entry. With this entry if they signed in and gave those working the front desk their information, then the next time they came and attempted to sign in there would be a record that they had already used this free pass. This would be helpful at least during the hours that there are classes within these facilities.

Another solution would be allowing students who can provide proof that they are in the class to still attend for the class period. In my case I asked to bring up my MyClasses page. I had my license on me and could have paired the two to show I was who I said I was and that I was in fact in the class. In another situation, the teacher could have come out attempting to show that the student was on the roster and they were still not let in.

A concern was brought up that if this were allowed, then what would stop students from giving their Gull cards to others who do not attend the university?

One way to make sure this doesn’t become a problem is to have people at the front desk check the I.D.s of those entering the facilities to make sure their face matches the faces on the I.D.

However it is done, a solution needs to be put in place to help students who misplace their Gullcard, which is very easy to misplace, get to the classes they need to go to. Unfortunately gym classes only allow two absences before points begin to be deducted. After this incident, I had my first absence leaving me very little wiggle room for emergencies or sicknesses.

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